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Production Bux Off In Western Canada

Ontario and Montreal led the way for lensing in Canada last year, while British Columbia’s location-based revenues dipped slightly and Alberta’s slumped by 50%. About $C720 million was spent across the country last year by U.S. and Canadian film and tv productions.

The lensing revenue comes despite an increase in value of the Canadian dollar vis-a-vis the U.S. dollar; for most of 1990 the Canadian dollar was at 86 cents against the U.S. dollar.

Ontario’s film production revenues rose 21% to an estimated $C259.844 million spent by 77 productions in 1990, according to Gail Thomson, executive coordinator of the Ontario Film Development Corp.’s location, promotion and services arm. Twenty-four foreign productions, mostly American, left behind $C56.8 million, and 53 Canadian prods spent $C203 million.

Toronto’s share of that pie totalled $C219.5 million, according to Naish McHugh, the city’s film liaison.

In Montreal, estimated 1990 expenditures totalled $C206 million, up nearly 10% from the previous year, per Montreal Film Commission topper Andre Lafond.

Native prods dominate

Breakdown was about $C21 million spent by U.S. productions, about $C100 million for Quebec-produced features and tv films and the rest for Quebec-produced tv series and specs.

Montreal accounts for 95% of all Quebec production.

An extra $C7.5 million was spent by U.S. productions filmed in the province, but outside Montreal, per Madeleine Bonin of Quebec’s SOGIC film agency.

U.S. productions in Montreal included Warners’ “If Looks Could Kill,” ($C18 million) and HBO’s “Descending Angel” ($C1 million).

British Columbia lensing dipped approximately 7% in 1990, falling to $C 188.49 million, compared with $C201.80 million in 1989., per the B.C. Film Commission under iterim chief Mark Des Rochers.

Breakdown in 1990 was $C134.17 million spent by U.S. productions and $54.32 million by Canadian productions.

British Columbia film sources attribute the slight decline over ’89 to more aggressive moves by Ontario and Toronto film commissions.

Alberta’s 1990 revenues of $C20 million in production spending dropped approximately 50% from 1989, according to Alberta Film Commission chief Bill Marsden.

The reason, Marsden says, is that in 1989, big-budget features such as Haruki Kadokawa’s “Heaven And Earth” and Philip Ridley’s “Reflecting Skin” were shot in the province.

U.S. features shot in Toronto included Par’s “Stepping Out” and “True Colors,” Orion’s “FX2,” “Married To It” and “Car 54 Where Are You?” The most notable increase, per McHugh, was the sharp hike of Canadian-produced music videos, 52 last year for a total expenditure of $C2 million, compared with 21 in ’89.

Features currently shooting in Toronto include Disney’s “The Mrs.,” David Cronenberg’s “Naked Lunch,” a Canadian-U. K, co-prod to be distributed in the U.S. by 20th Century Fox, Par’s “Body Parts.”

U.S. features shot in British Columbia included Tri-Star’s “Look Who’s Talking Too,” Orion’s “Mystery Date” and MGM/UA’s “Crooked Hearts.”

Vancouver-filmed Canadian tv series jumped the most, to 9 from 4 in ’89.

Other Canadian provinces, chiefly Manitoba and Nova Scotia shared about $C20 million of the overall estimated $C720 million location spending.

Sid Adilman in Toronto, Suzan Ayscough in Montreal and Ian Caddell in Vancouver contributed to this report.

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